Offspring on the way
A new family car, the Suzuki Kizashi is planning a family of its own, writes Paul Gover
AFAMILY of mid-sized cars will eventually grow from the all-new Suzuki Kizashi sedan, which has just arrived in Australia.
sporty wagon is likely to be first, tapping the style and shape of a Kizashi concept car shown in Frankfurt three years ago. A coupe is also on the planning program. An all-wheel-drive Kizashi is already in the works, and approved for Australia, and there could be a V6 engine to suit US buyers, though Suzuki is also believed to be examining the potential for a turbocharged four.
There is a petrol-electric hybrid close to a production sign-off, first for the US next year but also likely for Australia.
Masaaki Kato, Oceania marketing manager for Suzuki, says: ‘‘We have an idea in mind for another body style for Kizashi.
‘‘It’s not something we can discuss yet, but we are working.’’
Kato says the global financial crisis has affected the Kizashi program, cutting sales forecasts from 200,000-plus cars to about 80,000 in the first year and reducing the money available for future model developments.
But Kato says the Kizashi family will grow and there will be mechanical upgrades to a car that is crucial to the company’s future.
‘‘We will have more for Kizashi in a couple of years,’’ he says, without providing any detail.
But an on-sale date in 2012 means Suzuki has already completed the next stage of the program.
It takes about two years to go from a design sign-off to full-scale production, and that points to a station wagon because the sales potential for a coupe is limited and would only give a short-term boost to Kizashi.
Suzuki Australia is confident an all-wheeldrive Kizashi — using similar components to its SX4 models— will do well in Australia but does not have a timetable.
Tony Devers, general manager of Suzuki Australia, says: ‘‘When it’s available we’ll consider it.
We’re not ready and it hasn’t been made available to us yet.’’ And the station wagon? ‘‘Not in the foreseeable future,’’ he says. Suzuki’s new partnership with Volkswagen Group, which has taken a minority stake in the Japanese company, is likely to open doors on the technical front including access to a V6 engine.
But no one knows the detail yet on the tie-up or the potential for a V6.
‘‘It’s still early days. No one really knows how it’s going to work,’’ Devers says. ‘‘A V6 was initially reviewed, but it’s not available to us at the moment.’’
It’s a similar story for a diesel engine, even though Suzuki has big plans for the Kizashi in Europe. ‘‘They are studying but the diesel segment is quite small,’’ Devers says.
Family-oriented: the Kizashi concept car was shown in Frankfurt three years ago.